You may have trekked in different locales around the world but the wildness of the Erg Chigaga Dunes in the Saharan desert is an experience that few will have a chance to encounter. Erg Chigaga can be accessed by 4×4 or camel but exploring by foot is a completely different experience – just as being driven in a car is no comparison to taking the reins and driving the vehicle yourself. Explore the bounty that the desert has to offer, but also use this time to explore your perspectives. Trekking allows your brain to take some time off from the hustle and bustle that it is used to. Giving it a break could mean giving your thoughts a break too. Use this time to re-asses, re-examine and refocus while reveling in the beauty that nature has to offer.
* Average daily trekking distance is approximately 15 – 18 km / per day. Depending on weather conditions and fitness level of the group 2-3 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours in the afternoon.
*Indicative stay 3 nights at trekking camp, 1 night at Erg Chigaga Luxury Camp and 1 night at Riad Lamane. Prices based on two people travelling by private vehicle for roundtrip from Zagora to M’Hamid.
*All of our itineraries are flexible and can be tailored according to your needs.
Guests will be picked-up at Zagora Airport and transferred to their overnight accommodation (Riad Lamane). Use this time to decompress after a long day of travel. Take a dip in the pool or relax in the lounge while reading your favorite book. Enjoy a traditional Moroccan dinner and retire for the night at your well-appointed riad.
After breakfast at your accommodation in Zagora – drive for 1.5 hours south to M’hamid where your adventure begins. Meet your trekking guides and camel caravan. This morning’s trek will take you along the Draa River where you will experience the varied terrain of the area surrounding the town in addition to visiting abandoned settlements of the nomads. The biggest Kasah in the oasis is M’hamid Ksar – built in the aesthetic of Jewish architecture and constructed with clay. Recharge by taking a picnic lunch underneath the palm trees. The afternoon portion of the trek will take a southwestern course towards Sidi Naji. You will notice that there is a stark difference in the topography of the land from desert oasis to the stone desert (hamada) interspersed with scrubs and tamarisk trees.
Like the nomads that have traversed this land before you – wake up with the sunrise. Today’s trek will be completed before a late lunch in Erg Sahar. The route from Sidi Naji to Erg Sahar will be along an ancient dried lake that slowly transforms into rolling dunes. Although there is not much vegetation the views are no less spectacular. After taking a relaxing lunch to recharge after the morning trek, spend some time to explore the dunes of Erg Sahar. The dunes in this area are the second tallest behind Erg Chigaga, however they are known to be even more remote and wild than the ones in Erg Chigaga as there are no permanent camps and only a few temporary trekking camps that are taken down after 1 – 2 nights. Climb up to the dunes to relish the sunset, take in the vastness of the Sahara and tell yourself that “yes! you really are in the Sahara desert!”. Return to camp to enjoy dinner by the fireside and retire for the night.
After breakfast, begin your trek from Erg Sahar to Erg Smar by crossing the now dammed (and dried) Draa River. This is a huge expanse of land – and by trekking across its river bed you can truly get a sense of the vastness of this once flowing river. Even though the river is now dry, water still runs deep beneath the ground. For the first time in 2 days, you will be given an opportunity to take a “shower” using water in the well while we make a stop to replenish the water supply for the next days of trekking. Taking a shower with well water next to the dry river bed of the Draa River should most definitely be a bucket list item!
Erg Smar also holds a special place for us, because it was where Bobo was born and raised. Prior to the damming of the Draa River a collection of families lived off this land by farming and raising camels, goats and other livestock. You can still see remnants of this past settlement as you trek through this area. Set up camp for the day under the large tamarisk trees.
Today is the last day of the trek. We will make our way from Erg Smar to Erg Chigaga via a series of rolling small dunes and flat plateaus. After a 5 – 6 hour trek, with lunch served under the shade of tamarisk trees – we will arrive at the base of the Erg Chigaga dunes. Erg Chigaga is the largest dune in the area and definitely worth the effort to climb your way up to the top! The views are breathtaking and on a clear day you may be able to see the dunes of Erg Sahar.
Arrive at Erg Chigaga Luxury Camp to relish the sunset amid the magnificent sand dunes of Erg Chigaga. Spend the night at the luxuriously appointed tents after enjoying a delicious traditional Moroccan meal.
Wake up in your cozy bathrobe to witness sunrise in the great expanse of the Erg Chigaga dunes. Take your time to enjoy a delicious and hearty breakfast at the camp before departing for the Zagora Airport (approximate driving time will include 1.5 hours off road to M’hamid and 1.5 hours on paved road from M’hamid to Zagora).